MLB Rumors

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Orioles sign De La Rosa, Parmelee to minor-league contracts
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com

The Orioles signed pitcher Dane De La Rosa and outfielder Chris Parmelee to minor-league contracts Monday, reports CSNBaltimore.com.

Both players also received invites to spring training. De La Rosa produced a 11.57 ERA in three games last season. Parmelee hit .256 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 250 at-bats in 2014.

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White Sox OF Avisail Garcia working on improving plate discipline
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia is working on improving his plate discipline and began doing so during the winter ball season in Venezuela, per MLB.com. After starting 2 for 18, Garcia finished with a .312 average, five homers, 22 RBI and a .528 slugging percentage.

"If I don't swing at bad pitches, I have more of a chance," Garcia said. "When I start swinging all over the place, that's when I miss them. I try to swing at good pitches, work my count so I can see the ball better."

The White Sox continue to have raised expectations for Garcia, who missed most of the 2014 season due to a left shoulder injury.

"There isn't anything he can't do," White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams said of Garcia. "He's going to hit for average, for power, steal bases.

"He's going to play outstanding defense. And he has a little flair about him, a little fun, and an aggressiveness going first to third and second to home that's like Kirk Gibson's kind of aggressiveness. What else do you want? Just go play."

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Brewers' Hunter Morris clears waivers, outrighted to Triple-A
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Brewers first baseman Hunter Morris cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Monday. He has received an invite to major-league spring training as well.

Morris was designated for assignment last week.

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David Buchanan will compete for one of two spots in Phillies' rotation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan said refininig his curveball has been a point of emphasis this offseason, as he prepares to compete for a spot in the rotation this spring, per The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I had success with (my curveball) in certain games,” he said. “It started coming along there toward the end. But it’s definitely something that has a lot of work still to go. It’s definitely something I’m working on. It’s getting better, which is all I can ask for.”

There is two spots currently open in the rotation behind Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Aaron Harang. Buchanan, Jerome Williams and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez are considered the leading candidates for the openings in the rotation. 

“There’s going to be some competition,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week. “I think that’s the only way that you can get better is by creating competition. I can’t sit here and tell you today that David Buchanan’s going to be one of our guys in the rotation, but he absolutely is going to get an opportunity to pitch in spring training and be ready and compete for one of those spots.”

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Santana fine after throwing bullpen session; winter-league status is TBD
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Free agent starting pitcher Johan Santana threw a bullpen session Sunday and is said to be feeling fine, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. It is now up to his Venezuelan winter league team to decide if he will pitch for them in the finals.

Santana has been dealing with some shoulder discomfort, which has put his status for the remainder of the winter-league season in doubt. Santana is hoping to latch on with another major-league team after suffering a torn Achilles in June.

The Yankees, Padres and Blue Jays are among the teams showing interest in signing the former two-time AL Cy Young award winner.

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Mariners planning on batting Smith, Ruggiano in second spot in lineup
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said he is tentatively planning to bat the right-field tandem of Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano second in the lineup, per The New Tribune.

The Mariners ranked last in the majors last season in on-base percentage (.260) from their No. 2 hitters. No other team was lower than .279.

Smith had a .367 OBP last season for San Diego, while Ruggiano had a .337 OBP in 81 games for the Cubs.

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Rays' Jake McGee plays catch for first time since elbow surgery
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

The Rays announced Monday reliever Jake McGee played catch for the first time since undergoing elbow surgery in December. McGee is still expected to miss the start of the season.

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Cardinals' Carpenter hoping to build off postseason power surge
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter hit just eight home runs with a .375 slugging percentage during the 2014 regular season, but had a much better power swing in the postseason, belting four home runs and slugging .722 in nine games.

“I took a more of an aggressive approach in the postseason,” Carpenter said, per STLBaseballWeekly.com. “Part of that was from the experience that I had gathered the year before. After a long season, going into the playoffs I felt like I wasn’t as prepared as I felt like I could’ve been. It kind of snowballed and my approach and the way I took the regular season at-bat in the postseason it wasn’t playing out well.”

Carpenter said his postseason success could have a positive impact on his power numbers in 2015.

"Certainly, I’m always going to be a guy who’s patient at the plate, but that was a good learning experience for me -- being aggressive," he said. "I don’t remember the exact numbers but out of the four home runs I hit, I think three of them were on the first pitch. That’s something typically I don’t do a lot of, and it was a good learning experience.”

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Tigers' Dombrowski expecting 'real big season' for Justin Verlander
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander said last week this is the best he's felt physically approaching the start of spring training in at least three years.

Apparently, the optimism doesn't end with Verlander. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski indicated the Tigers are expecting big things from Verlander in 2015 after he posted a 4.54 ERA in 2014, failing to make the All-Star team for the first time in six seasons.

"Justin Verlander is as prime a pitcher as there is in the game of baseball," Dombrowski said, per the Detroit Free Press. "Last year, he was not the traditional Justin. But when you look at what he came back from with the surgery, I think he's going to go out and have a real big season for us."

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Sleep apnea almost caused Red Sox's Mike Napoli to retire
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com

Dealing with sleep apnea almost caused Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli to retire prematurely from baseball, reports the Boston Globe.

"I couldn't do it anymore, feeling the way I was feeling," Napoli said. "I was like, 'I need to have the surgery or I'm not going play anymore.' That's how bad it was."

During the offseason, Napoli underwent facial reconstruction surgery to correct the condition, which was preventing him from getting a proper night of rest.

"It was a brutal process," Napoli said. "It was probably one of the worse things I've ever done."

With the surgery a success and Napoli recovered from losing weight due to a six-week liquid diet, Napoli is now sleeping better than he ever has.

Before the surgery, Napoli turned to medication, mouthpieces and a CPAP mask, but said those problems are now behind him.

"I wake up now and I'm ready to start my day," he said. "It's great."

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